Locum Tenens Action Alert: Urge Congress to Support the Healthcare Provider Shortage Minimization Act

(Edited from NALTO NewsBrief, 6/24/2022)

In 2020, NALTO® began grassroots efforts to educate members of the United States Congress about the locum tenens industry and why they should support legislation that allows some 52,000 locum tenens clinicians to continue providing healthcare to more than 7.5 million Americans a year, including those in rural and other underserved communities.

Some Background

Locum tenens clinicians provide roughly a million days of physician coverage–and more than 20 million patient visits–annually. An estimated 88% of US healthcare facilities depend on locum tenens doctors or advanced practice professionals to provide continuous medical care.

“Physicians and other clinicians enjoy more freedom to control their own schedules and flexibility in when, where and for what duration they work under the independent-contractor model of locum tenens than they do as hospital or medical group employees,” NALTO® President Matt Young of All Star Healthcare Solutions said. “If they are forced to become staffing agency employees, it’s likely fewer of these healthcare providers would choose the path of becoming temporary or ‘fill-in’ professionals.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 clinicians by 2034. including shortfalls in both primary and specialty care. The AAMC also predicts that almost a third of physicians will retire within the next decade.

For more than 40 years, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have utilized locum tenens clinicians to provide continuous access to healthcare services. However, in the past couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated clinician shortages across the country.

Support HR 7881

That’s why US Representative Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), on May 27, 2022, introduced “The Healthcare Provider Shortage Minimization Act of 2022” (HR 7881). Immediately referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, the legislation will help address the growing physician/clinician shortage affecting millions of Americans – particularly those in rural and other underserved communities.

NALTO® has made it easy for you to send a message to your House member urging them to support this critical proposal. To send yours conveniently click here.

Before HR 7881

Earlier this year, up to and including last month (May 2022), NALTO® has asked its members to urge Congress to amend “The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.”

As passed by the US House of Representatives in March 2021, The PRO Act would materially change the locum tenens industry overnight, prohibiting many locum tenens clinicians from providing services to hospitals and other healthcare facilities nationwide–including those in rural and other underserved communities.

For example, people accessing healthcare services through the Veterans Health Administration (VA) and Indian Health Services would be affected adversely by this legislation.

Solution: Take ACTION!

Through its ongoing relationship with lobbying firm McGuireWoods, NALTO® is advocating for a permanent solution: legislation that would codify physicians, surgeons, and advanced practitioners as independent contractors. The introduction of HR 7881 has resulted from these efforts.

NALTO® now asks its members; along with locum tenens clinicians, and its healthcare-facility clients; to urge their respective Members of Congress to support this critical legislation (HR 7881). 

Let Congress hear your voice by clicking here to submit your version of the draft request, along with your contact information, to your congressional representative.